I’ve been coming to the Y for 18 years. When I started, my oldest child was in 2nd grade and the younger two were in pre-school. Now my oldest is 24 and the others are in college. They took swimming classes here and went to summer camp. I took group ex classes, aerobics, Pilates and step classes.

One day, about five years ago, one of my friends told me I had to try a class at the Wainwright. It was a Zumba class taught by Maria Kacheta. I loved it! I became a Zumba instructor four months later. In the beginning, I was so shy. I used to whisper. Diana and Maria would say “I can’t hear you!” They made me the loud-mouth I am now!

Since I started teaching I’ve lost over 50 pounds and have gone from a size 16 to a size 8. I teach five Zumba classes and Zumba with weights.

Sometimes I’ll ask a member who is experienced to go to the front of my class so I’m able to walk around and check everyone’s form. I’m very careful about people’s movements and want to make sure they don’t get injured. I have several cancer survivors in my classes, from the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, and they are amazing.

I bring energy to my classes and count on my students to bring their energy. Without our energy there isn’t a Zumba class! I like my students to participate by singing. I say, “Not only is this a Zumba class, but you’re here for singing!”

I love the people at the Y. I love helping people. I’ve made some of my best friends here. I’m also a real estate agent and have met future clients here. The Rye Y has become a family to me. Last Wednesday was my birthday and when I walked into class it looked like nobody was there. Then the light went on and the members yelled SURPRISE and gave me roses and chocolate. I feel loved here!